When you ask fans who the must-watch players are in the game of baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer, and Shohei Ohtani are probably some of the popular answers. Austin Adams was one of those players this year though for hard core fans because you didn’t know if he was going to do something you’ve never seen before that night.
Sometimes that meant striking out the side on sliders and other times that meant hitting seemingly every single batter he faced like he did on September 12 against the Dodgers. In 2021, Adams set the record for the most hit batters in a single season by one pitcher with 24. Every single hit batter can be seen below:
While Adams is remembered for beaning batters, he was usually quite effective if Jayce Tingler needed a strikeout or two in a big spot. The 30-year-old pitched a shutout in 52 of his 65 appearances. In other words, he did his job to perfection (in terms of runs allowed) 80% of the time. That just makes it even more mind blowing that he led the league in hit batters. Adams finished his first full season in a Padres uniform with a 4.10 ERA and 76 strikeouts, which was 17 more than his teammate Mark Melancon.
Adams is going to be valuable for the Padres over the course of the next three years because he is the ultimate swing or miss reliever. I’d say he is the Joey Gallo of bullpen arms. Gallo strikes out a lot but has a ton of power. Adams hits a lot of batters but has an unhittable slider when he’s on his game. Fans just have to hope Adams will be on his game next year when it matters most.